Chemotherapy for lung cancer: The state of the art in 2009

Michaela J. Higgins, David S. Ettinger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer-related death among men and women worldwide. Incremental and significant advances in available systemic treatments, however, have taken place in the last decade to provide improved survival rates and better palliation for patients with non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancer. Superior imaging techniques have enabled the detection of early-stage disease and adjuvant chemotherapy has earned a place for select patients following resection of their tumors. Perhaps the largest growth has been in the area of advanced non-small-cell lung cancer, in which multiple new combination and single-agent systemic therapies have become standard where previously only 'best supportive care' was thought appropriate. In concert with broader applicability of chemotherapy, translational studies have provided the rationale for using molecular markers to identify the patients most likely to benefit from biological and targeted therapies. This review will discuss the current role of chemotherapy in both early and advanced non-small-cell and small-cell lung cancer. Novel targeted systemic therapies and the appropriate selection of treatments for patients based on their tumors' molecular phenotypes and histologies will also be reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1365-1378
Number of pages14
JournalExpert Review of Anticancer Therapy
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Chemotherapy
  • Lung cancer
  • Non-small-cell
  • Small-cell
  • Systemic therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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